all scores

UConn’s Paige Bueckers suffers season-ending torn ACL in pick-up game

(Ben Solomon/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

Star junior guard Paige Bueckers has torn the ACL in her left knee and will miss the 2022-23 season, the UConn women’s basketball announced Wednesday.

Bueckers suffered the injury during a pick-up basketball game on Monday, the team said in a release. An MRI that same evening confirmed the ACL tear.

The 2021 National Player of the Year will undergo surgery on Friday at UConn Health, after which her recovery timeline will be made available.

“We’re all devastated for Paige. She’s worked really hard to get stronger and healthier this offseason, and this is an unfortunate setback,” said head coach Geno Auriemma. “Paige is obviously an amazing basketball player but she’s a better person and teammate and it’s really unfortunate that this has happened to her.

“We’ll miss her presence on the court, but she’ll do everything she can to still lead and help her teammates this season. Our program will support Paige through her healing process to help her come back better and stronger.”

It will be the second season in a row in which Bueckers has missed significant time due to injury. Last season, Bueckers suffered a tibial plateau fracture in the same left knee and missed several months.

She returned to the court in late February and led UConn to the NCAA championship, where the Huskies lost to South Carolina.

Bueckers later took to Instagram, saying that she is “trying to make sense of it all” after having worked “so hard” to get back healthy. She also said that she had felt “stronger than ever” and was playing her best basketball prior to the injury.

“With one sudden movement it all shifts,” she wrote. “It’s hard trying to make sense of it all now but I can’t help but think that God is using me as a testimony as to how much you can overcome with Him by your side. Some little kid that just tore their ACL or had a major surgery might need this story P, because it’s going to be one hell of a comeback.

“There is going to be good days and there is going to be bad days but my absolute love for the game and Godly strength will get me back to where I need to be. I’ve worked too hard for the little kid in these pictures to keep going for the dreams Ive had since I first picked up the ball, so why would I stop now?”

She added that the prayers and love being sent her way “means so much to me” and that the doubters of her ability to fight her way back “mean even more.”

“God put a dream in my heart,” Bueckers continued. “And even if I have to walk through a nightmare to get it I’m going to keep believing.”